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Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



South-West Africa, Sonderweg, Germany, South Africa, Boers, British


Recent scholarship on the renewed Sonderweg theory does not approach the debate with a comparative analysis. This thesis therefore presents a new argument looking at the influence of British and Afrikaner tensions in South Africa, culminating in the South African War of 1899-1902, and how their treatment of the various African peoples in their own colony influenced German South-West African colonial native policy and the larger social hierarchy within the settler colony. In analyzing the language of scholarly journals, magazine articles, and other publications of the period, one can see the direct influence of the Afrikaners, including South African Boers, on German South-West African settlers, and their eugenically infused discussion of Herero, Nama, and Bastards, within their new home. Furthermore, the relations between the German settlers and the British settlers and colonial officials in the neighboring colony serve as a case-study of the larger rivalry between Berlin and London that would later culminate in World War I. In looking at how this British colony influenced German South-West Africa in socially, politically, economically, and scientifically, one can place this new research within the context of the renewed Sonderweg debated amongst scholars like Isabel Hull and George Steinmetz, extending the critique that Steinmetz argued in The Devil’s Handwriting: Precoloniality and the German State in Qingdao, Samoa, and South-West Africa


First Advisor

Andrew Donson

Second Advisor

John E. Higginson